Motivation to Exercise: 8 Ways Your Phone Can Help

Looking for some tips to help you get or stay motivated to exercise? There answer is right at your fingertips.  There are a variety of ways your phone can provide all the encouragement and inspiration you need.

As a general rule, when used appropriately cell phones can be important assets when it comes increasing physical activity.  The variety of features that a cell phone offers makes it a powerful tool for engaging in an exercise routine.  It can be leveraged before, during, and after your workout for motivation now and into the future.

Love them or hate them, cell phones are here to stay and nearly impossible to do without in today’s modern world.  Developing a habit of leveraging this powerful tool to your fitness benefit is one of the best uses it can have.  Read on for 9 tips on how you can use your cell phone to get and stay motivated to exercise.

Schedule your workout

You are more likely to do something if you schedule it.  Leaving a workout to chance is exactly how NOT to succeed in exercising. 

Define as much clarity as possible.  Schedule when your will exercise, what you will be doing and where you will be doing it. 

This takes any additional mental effort needed, which can demotivate you, out of the equation.  Many fail to exercise regularly, not because of lack of motivation, but because of a lack of clarity.

Receive reminders

You can also use your phone to set reminders for yourself the night before to get what you need ready.  Having your clothes and shoes handy will prevent any morning delays, setting you up for success.

The free app Remember the Milk can be downloaded to both iPhone and Android phones.  It can send email and text message reminders to help keep you on track.

See my article here for more on how using this method and others can help you establish an atomic habit.

Listen to Music

Listening to music while your exercising has many advantages.  While it’s not appropriate in all settings, safety first, it be really help get and keep you moving.

By listening to music you enjoy, you will have more fun exercising and the time will fly by.  You will also find it easier to keep your heart rate up and workout harder than without it. 

Listening to music that is faster paced can also help you walk or run more briskly.  It also can reduce the perceived effort making it more enjoyable and fun.

This will also set you up for success the next time.  Associating fun things with exercise is one of the best ways to ensure you will it again. 

To start any new routine or habit you will need a measure of motivation.  Fun things don’t really take much motivation but rather self-control to limit the time you spend doing them!

Instant Walking Buddy

For all you walkers out there that only seem to go walking when you’ve got a friend to go with, this one is for you.  Your phone provides a walking buddy in seconds – a walking or running buddy is just one call away.

This may not work for everyone, but it can make the difference between going for a walk or not for many.  Walking with a buddy is usually preferred by most people and can be a great motivator to catch up and get a workout in. 

There are drawbacks to chatting while walking both outside and on a treadmill.  Studies show people walk slower than they would if they weren’t talking.  In addition, always be aware of your surrounding when walking outside.

Track Your Progress

Don’t have a smartwatch to track your workouts- no problem.  There are many free apps you can download for tracking your walks and runs.  The apps use the GPS on your phone to log data like your pace per mile, elevation, and more.

You can also download a step counter app for tracking total steps per day.  While it may not be as accurate as a wrist worn fitness tracker or smart watch, it can do a decent job of tracking steps. 

Tracking steps throughout the day can be especially important if you need or want to break up your workout.  On days when you have a lot going on and can’t go for your walk or run you may be surprised how active you really are.

For tracking runs, Strava is my favorite apps that can be used for walking and running.  Simply download the app remember to press start and end.  It’s that simple.

The best thing about using an app like Strava is that it tracks everything automatically for you.  You can add your own notes which I do for things such as temperature, humidity, and walk/run ratio used. 

Many apps also include training plans, additional workouts, virtual coaches, and more.  While these may not be free, they tend to be less expensive than purchasing similar services elsewhere.

Connections for Exercising

 Using your phone to connect with others who exercise is a great incentive to exercise.  Studies have found that those used their phone in this way were more active (see study here).

You can also share your walk/run with friends and family members when using some fitness apps like Strava.  Seeing what others are doing that your connected to is also motivating. 

When using such apps to be careful not to compare yourself to others which can become discouraging.  Some healthy competition can be good but know yourself and any limit negative influences if this is true for you.

Convenient Safety Features

Using your phone’s flashlight feature can keep you safe and minimal when out early in the morning.  I’ve also used the flashlight feature at dusk when it gets dark before I’ve return from my walk.

In can also put your mind at ease in case there is an emergency.  Not only can your family get in touch with you instantly, but you always call for help or an Uber if you need it. 

While it doesn’t replace the benefit of having hand-held mace, it is a safety measure to take and can alleviate anxiety for some.  When exercising in remote or private areas it is always a good idea to carry mace. 

Capture the Moments with Pictures & Videos

Be sure to use your phone for taking any great pictures of scenery or other interesting items along your way.  The beautiful sunrise, a local owl you only hear and never see, or something else can remind and motivate you for next time.

You may be surprised what you come across in your morning or evening walks or runs.  I once say the biggest turtle I’ve ever seen outside a zoo!  Can you imagine my disappointment when I realized I didn’t have my phone with me?

We all know we should do less scrolling and more exercising so make sure to use your phone for good.  Leverage it to help you establish and stick to an exercise routine by employing some the tips above.   

Key Takeaways

Not everyone will benefit from taking their phone with them on a walk or run. It can be more distracting than beneficial, and you may not get the most from your workout. However, many will likely find it easier and more enjoyable in the beginning when establishing an exercise routine.

Now that you have some additional motivation to get that workout in, you may wonder the best way to carry your phone. See my article here for 9 ways to carry your phone and which may be best for you.

Recent Posts